Canada another step closer to legalizing single-event sports gambling

Feb 18 2021, 12:29 am

The journey towards legalizing single-event sports gambling in Canada cleared another hurdle today.

Bill C-218, which aims to amend Canada’s criminal code to allow single-event sports bets, was adopted at the second reading in the House of Commons today, with a 303-15 vote.

The Private Member’s Bill put forth by Conservative MP Kevin Waugh will now be sent to the House Justice committee for further study. From there, it will need to pass another vote in the House and be approved in the Senate before becoming law.

Currently, Canada’s criminal code outlaws betting on single sporting events. Consequently, provincially run legal gambling sites like can only offer parlay bets, in which gamblers need to correctly predict the outcome of multiple games to win their bet.

In order to bet on the outcome of a single sporting event, Canadians have to turn to the grey market or black market, and many do.

Canadians wager approximately $10 billion annually through illegal bookmaking operations, usually operated by organized crime, according to the Canadian Gaming Association. About $4 billion is wagered through unregulated offshore gambling websites annually, while only $500 million is gambled through legal provincial sports lottery sites, like PlayNow.com in BC or Proline.ca in Ontario.

“BCLC is urging Ottawa to work collaboratively and take it over the finish line,” BCLC announced in a media release today.

“We’re calling on all Members of Parliament to work together collaboratively to legalize single-event betting for the benefit of our players and provinces,” added Stewart Groumoutis, BCLC’s director of eGaming. “Our players want single-event sports betting, and we are ready to provide this enhanced offering to them in a safe and responsible manner.”

In British Columbia, BCLC says it estimates that single-event sports betting would generate $125 to $175 million in additional revenue.

Rob WilliamsRob Williams

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